Expert: DPRK sending athletes preempts forceful reaction from US
By CGTN's World Insight
“If I am Kim Jong Un, it makes perfect sense to reach out to the South, to change the dynamics, to send athletes, officials and cheerleaders and come across as the party that’s really more interested in peace and reconciliation while painting the rhetorically bellicose President Trump into a corner, painting him more as the aggressor,” said Sung-Yoon Lee, a Kim Koo-Korea Foundation professor of Korean Studies at The Fletcher School at Tufts University.
The comments come after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) announced earlier this week that it will send a high-ranking delegation as well as athletes and a cheering squad to participate in the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.
The announcement came following the first inter-Korean talks in more than two years.
Athletes from both Koreas have marched together before; during the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, in Athens Olympics in 2004 and in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin. 
Lee believes that sports diplomacy is a “sexy affair.”
“Perhaps the most spectacular and most dramatic sports diplomacy was back in 1971, when China all of a sudden invited American table tennis players who are attending an international tournament in Japan. And there after the Americans came in April and were severely outclassed in the game of ping pong but showered with affection and hospitality.”
US President Richard Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai during the former's 1972 visit to China. /VCG Photo

US President Richard Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai during the former's 1972 visit to China. /VCG Photo

“And to this day, many Americans mistakenly believe that Ping Pong Diplomacy paved the way for Henry Kissinger’s visit in July, and President Nixon’s visit the next year, when secret talks had been going on between the two sides. Why? Due to the common threat of the Soviet Union. So for Kim Jong-un, just by pledging to send North Korean athletes, I think he has basically preempted any forceful reaction from the United States, even with the next big provocation,” Lee said.
World Insight With Tian Wei is a 45-minutes global affairs and debate show on CGTN. It airs weekdays at 10:15p.m. BJT(1415GMT) with rebroadcasts at 4:15a.m. BJT(20:15GMT).